The MHN Blog is a companion to the Maritime Heritage Network, a not-for-profit, comprehensive website of maritime heritage organizations, attractions, and activities in the Pacific Northwest. The blog highlights news, activities, and resources useful to the entire maritime heritage community. All views expressed are the author's own. Opposing views are welcome.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Heritage Supporters Rally with Seattle Neighborhoods

Maritime heritage supporters rallied in Seattle today with about 200 neighborhood activists protesting the city of Seattle's management of the city's park system. (Photo at left.) Maritime supporters have locked horns with the city Parks and Recreation Department and Superintendent Ken Bounds over plans to redevelop South Lake Union Park. Bounds, who is tasked with creating a maritime heritage center at SLUP, has issued an eviction notice to the owners of the 1897 schooner Wawona, now moored at the SLUP. The vessel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is an official city landmark. Bounds says restoration activities are not allowed at the Park, and the schooner is in no condition to be at a public facility. Wawona supporters say that visitors want to know more about restoring historic ships, and they cite activites at San Francisco's National Maritime Historical Park and Mystic Seaport as examples.

The maritime supporters joined with representatives of several Seattle neighborhoods which dislike what they say is Parks' "top-down" decision-making style. They believe Bounds and his staff have ignored their concerns on several issues, especially a large parking garage planned for the Woodland Park Zoo, a series of large-scale summer concerts planned for Gas Works Park, across Lake Union from SLUP, and a plan to cut down 17 mature trees in historic Pioneer Square. For his part, Bounds says everyone had a chance to present their views, and he accused opponents of "intellectual dishonesty." (Photo copyright 2006 Joe Follansbee)


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